With the launch of issue 2, I’ve decided to change tack with Grim Portents. Instead of collecting submissions and compiling them into an issue (a process that can take months), I’ll publish them as they arrive on this blog for people to read and play with. When we accumulate enough submissions, we’ll compile them into an issue and publish them as a PDF.

As such, this section explains the process for submitting an article or illustration to the blog. The other two ways of contributing – giving feedback and laying out the issue – I’ll save until we’re nearing the compiling stage.

 Submissions or questions:

Stimulus: The Thaw (optional)


Articles are written submissions.

Length: There is no minimum length: a single monster, move or item is enough. There is no set maximum length, but I recommend asking me before writing anything longer than 5,000 words or so.

Games: While Grim Portents is focused on Dungeon World content, submissions for any Powered by the Apocalypse games (* World or World of *) will be accepted. That means Monster of the Week, World of Dungeons, Monsterhearts and Apocalypse World are all fair game.

Controversial content: Graphic violence, horror or sexual themes will probably be rejected. Something like the Apocalypse World or Monsterhearts sex moves would be fine, as would depictions of violence that might appear in an M rated film.

Topic: As a basic threshold, if an article would fit in Dragon Magazine or Dungeon Magazine, it has a place in Grim Portents. New game material, gaming advice, mini-games, actual plays, reviews and opinion are all appropriate.

Previously published: I actually started Grim Portents because I saw a lot of good content posted online and then forgotten about. Material that has already been published elsewhere is not only tolerated, it is celebrated.


File format: DOC, DOCX, ODT or TXT. Please keep your formatting as simple and close to Microsoft Word or LibreOffice defaults as possible. There is no need for you to choose fonts or lay out the document, as we do this ourselves anyway.

Style: We accept submissions in any style, but the closer a submission is to the default style used in the Dungeon World rulebook the easier our job is. That means that move names are not capitalised, tags are not capitalised except when in monster stat blocks, and so on. There are two exceptions: we do not emphasise move conditions (“When you submit to Grim Portents, mark XP” not “When you submit to Grim Portents, mark XP”) and we do not place a star next to the miss, 7–9 and 10+ results. This follows the style used in the two backer scout books (Player Compendium and Denizens).

Grim Portents doesn’t change the spelling of submissions from one form of English to another (we are yet to receive a submission in another language).

Licence: All submissions must be under one of the three free, libre and open Creative Commons licences: CC0 (which releases a work into the public domain), CC Attribution and CC Attribution-ShareAlike. The default is CC Attribution 3.0 Unported (


There are two ways that illustrators can contribute to Grim Portents:

  • They can offer up an illustration and ask someone to write an article about it, or
  • They can ask which articles need illustrating, and provide illustrations based on them.

In either case, the illustrator can use an existing artwork or create one especially for Grim Portents.

Grim Portents also sources free, libre and open illustrations from other places, primarily Open Game Art and the Prismatic Art Collection.

File format: JPG (lossy), TIFF (lossy or lossless depending on how it is saved) or PNG or SVG (lossless).


No one has yet donated, but if you would like to I would publicly thank you in the next issue and use the contribution to commission some free culture art.

Potential articles

  • Reviews of Dungeon World products
  • ‘How to Design X’ (monsters, moves, compendium classes)
  • AncientBeast: Choose an illustration you like from AncientBeast’s art collection and make a monster for it (, under the ‘bestiary’ folder).
  • Ecology: Ratkin. Provide more options for ratkin characters (filthy vermin are probably only good for thieving and fighting, am I right?) as well as monster entries: for the ratkin and the things that hunt them in the sewers and alleyways. (There’s already a Ratkin Ranger racial move in Number Appearing, has illustrations.
  • Map: Find two friends and together populate these three islands with fronts, monsters and races. Why are the edges of the first and third islands blurred? Mist … or something else?
  • Traps: Traps, such a big part of D&D, have received little attention in DW. Tell me how you’d tackle them in your games.
  • Different Damage System: D&D has seen dozens of alternatives or additions to HP proposed over the years. Do the same for DW.
  • Ecology: Tell me about Bakunawa and Dragon-Turtle (Swamp Denizens in the DW book).
  • Beyond the Black Gates: Just what are these metaphysical portals about, huh? What do different mythologies say about them, how do philosophers explain them, does anything creep out from beyond them, does anyone worship Death itself, etc.
  • Truenaming: The Namer is cool and all, but there’s so much more to truenames. Tell me about the Atavist, who breaks down his own truename, and the Auto-Didact, who restructures her truename to become more perfect, and the Demonologist who knows the truenames of fiends, and tell me also of the monsters who use truenames for their own purposes.—a-Dungeon-World-compatible-class
  • Establishments: Pick a place from Take on Establishments and expand it. Who else is there? What plot hooks await? Describe a front that wants the place protected, or changed, or burned to the ground.
  • Monstrous PCs: Give me a dozen more race moves for the Lycanthrope racial playbook in Number Appearing
  • It Came from the Public Domain: Convert the people, places and monsters of the works of Lord Dunsany or Edgar Rice Burroughs to DW.
  • WoD Errata: Quite a few World of Dungeons rules were clarified or explained in the Story-Games thread. An article collecting them and written in the author’s own words could be useful
  • Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better: Find something that never worked well in D&D (grappling, large scale battles, social combat, etc.) and try to make it work in DW.

Inspiration for the current stimulus, The Thaw

  • The Khrushchev Thaw: fronts from an evil empire experiencing a cultural transformation
  • The art of Alphonse Mucha, now public domain
  • The myth of Persephone, who emerged from the underworld as spring’s harbinger
  • Groundhog Day
  • T-Rex’s “Beltane Walk”: a man with a starhide, a girl who says she’s God’s tool, walking by the westwind (an expansion for Inverse World’s The Walker?)
  • May poles, leaping over bonfires, cattle rituals, holy wells, decorated thorn bushes, appeasing the fairies, fairy forts, caudle
  • Take inspiration from a painting of spring:

Henry David Thoreau

Thaw with her gentle persuasion is more powerful than Thor with his hammer. The one melts, the other breaks into pieces.

Edward Thomas

OVER the land freckled with snow half-thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flower of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.


One thought on “Submissions

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s